SANTA PAULA — Different division, same result.
When the Bellarmine-Jefferson High softball team made the jump from CIF Southern Section Division VII to Division VI this season, some questioned whether the Guards would be able to compete on the higher level and maintain the level of success the program had enjoyed the previous two years in the playoffs.
Bell-Jeff advanced to the Division VII championship the two previous seasons before being moved up.
All those doubts were put to rest Tuesday, as the Guards punched their ticket to their third consecutive postseason title contest. Bell-Jeff disposed of host Santa Paula, 5-1, at Harding Park in a semifinal game to earn a spot in the Division VI final.
In the previous two title games, the Guards were defeated twice by Pomona Catholic, both by one run.
“It feels really good to be able to make it to the championship for the third year now,” said Bell-Jeff senior shortstop Monique Landini, who will be making her third straight start in a title game. “There are just so many emotions right now. We are so excited. We’re just going to go out and give it our best and hopefully the third time will be it for us.”